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Analysis out of the box

Le Bon Marché: a commitment with art, from cultural supplements to cultural experiences

Analysis out of the boxArt & Business | Art holds a position of central importance at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche. This strong commitment reflects the store’s desire for proximity and exchange with artists and creators who invite us to explore new worlds and endless possibilities. These artistic statements, whether exhibitions or the Rive Gauche Collection, are created to trigger emotion and amazement in the heart of an exceptional setting.

Expo ER XI Ai Weiwei au Bon Marché oeuvre Le Heluo © Gabriel de la Chapelle / Bon Marché
Expo ER XI Ai Weiwei au Bon Marché oeuvre Le Heluo
© Gabriel de la Chapelle / Bon Marché

The context of department stores

Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, the capital’s first department store, was followed by Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette. Built in the heart of Paris, they had a commercial function but also a creative dimension. Indeed, from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, department stores have created their own fashion and design collections with areas dedicated to the conception of furniture and objects, such as La Maîtrise in the Galeries Lafayette. They have also hosted all types of events, in 1873, Aristide Boucicaut inaugurated an orchestra of 250 musicians and in 1875 he exhibited the works of artists who were refused in that years salon in his Beaux-Arts gallery. Department stores have encouraged creation through the decades, nowadays they preserve this crucial function which differentiates them from other distribution channels.

Le Bon Marché en 1929 © Archives Le Bon Marche
Le Bon Marché en 1929
© Archives Le Bon Marche

Cultural exhibitions today

Throughout the year, Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche invites artists and creators to inhabit its installations through their art. Visual arts, fashion, design or even music, are present during the store’s events. True to its commitment to support creation, Le Bon Marché encourages its guests to produce new works imagined in situ. In an initial stage, the exhibitions were dedicated to Charlotte Perriand, Guy Bourdin or Martin Parr (the latter also worked with the store in advertising campaigns) ; however, for nearly four years now, the store leaves carte blanche to artists around the subject of “white”. Their work is then presented in a promotional event conceived by Aristide Boucicaut and launched at the beginning of the year.

Ai Weiwei and his mythological creatures inspired on traditional kites in 2016.

Exposition ER XI Ai Weiwei au Bon Marché © Gabriel de la Chapelle / Bon Marché
Exposition ER XI Ai Weiwei au Bon Marché
© Gabriel de la Chapelle / Bon Marché

Chiharu Shiota (Where are we going? A title that makes reference to the uncertainty of the journey that is life) in 2017.

Where are we going, installation de Chiharu Shiota au Bon Marché Rive Gauche © Gabriel de la Chapelle / Bon Marché
Where are we going, installation de Chiharu Shiota au Bon Marché Rive Gauche
© Gabriel de la Chapelle / Bon Marché

Leandro Erlich Sous le ciel (Under the sky), in 2018.

Exposition 'Sous Le Ciel', Leandro Erlich au Bon Marché Rive Gauche © Gabriel de La Chapelle / Bon Marché
Exposition 'Sous Le Ciel', Leandro Erlich au Bon Marché Rive Gauche
© Gabriel de La Chapelle / Bon Marché

Claude Viallat also intervened in the store with his “sunshades”. In January 2019, Le Bon Marché expects Joana Vasconcelos.

The Collection Rive Gauche Contemporary Art

Spread throughout the store, the Collection Rive Gauche – art contemporain reflects the 30 year old commitment Le Bon Marché has had with contemporary artistic creation. The paintings, sculptures, pictures and drawings that constitute the collection are the works of French and international artists, both known or emerging. Among the sixty artworks, we find artists such as Marc Desgrandchamps, Claude Viallat, Fiona Rae, Valerio Adami or Jean-Michel Alberola.

(à gauche) Claude Viallat, Sans titre n°34, 1984 / (à droite) Jean-Pierre Pincemin, Sans-titre (arbre), 2001 © Le Bon Marché
(à gauche) Claude Viallat, Sans titre n°34, 1984 / (à droite) Jean-Pierre Pincemin, Sans-titre (arbre), 2001
© Le Bon Marché

Whenever a new employee is hired, he or she receives a briefing on the collection, which explains, justifies and reflects Le Bon Marché’s positioning and its evolution towards an XXL concept-store, an extra large “Colette”. The collection is there to be visited and interpreted by the store’s clients.

Finally… the Collection Rive Gauche Design

The Collection Rive Gauche Design can be found in the store’s different spaces, with pieces that have marked the history of furniture, decorative arts or design. Each work has been carefully selected for its original edition, unique history, materials and design. The collection gathers design pieces from couple Eames, Florence Knoll, Jacques Adnet, Pierre Paulin, Harry Bertoia, Angelo Mangiarotti, Claudio Salocchi... gathering a hundred of pieces in total.

Claudio Salocchi, Lampe Tulpa, 1971 © Le Bon Marché / Collection Rive Gauche Mobilier des Arts Décoratifs
Claudio Salocchi, Lampe Tulpa, 1971
© Le Bon Marché / Collection Rive Gauche Mobilier des Arts Décoratifs

Virginie Bertrand
Publié le 05/01/2019
Copyright © Observatoire de l'art contemporain - Tous droits réservés
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Version française

Expo ER XI Ai Weiwei au Bon Marché oeuvre Le Heluo © Gabriel de la Chapelle / Bon Marché

Expo ER XI Ai Weiwei au Bon Marché oeuvre Le Heluo
© Gabriel de la Chapelle / Bon Marché

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